There are already Austin beers made in homage to the University of Texas. Now, one of the city's lesser known schools, St. Edward's University, is getting a tribute beer of its own — the Hilltopper Bock.
The Hilltopper is the latest small-batch beer to come from Friends & Allies Brewing, which received attention last year for its Impeach Peach Ale featuring the logo image of a peach with leaves shaped like a particularly famous hairdo. The Hilltopper, the East Austin brewery's second lager, is sure to be far less controversial, for co-founder Ben Sabin simply wants to pay homage to the university he attended for four years, graduating in 2009.
"It's a tip of the hat to the school that I went to," he said. "We've had the name for probably two-and-a-half, three years; we had just not made a beer with it. A bock made perfect sense."
The style makes sense because 'bock,' a malty German lager, means 'goat' in German — which is exactly what the St. Edward's mascot, the Hilltopper, is (a mountain goat, to be specific). The logo image on the Hilltopper beer depicts a goat, too, although it was carefully illustrated so as not to draw comparisons to another local brewery's popular amber ale, Thirsty Planet's Thirsty Goat. Sabin used to peddle it as a former Thirsty Planet sales representative in the years before Friends & Allies.
Although the beer isn't affiliated officially with St. Edward's, a private Roman Catholic university, Sabin is still hoping to drum up excitement for the school through the Hilltopper Bock. He had a great time in his years there, he said, and wants people to know what a wonderful place it is.
Now that the bock is on tap at the Friends & Allies tasting room on Springdale Road, he hopes to host the St. Edward's Alumni Association for a happy hour. The beer will be draft-only there and at additional bars around Austin for now, but depending upon how well it's received, we might see it in cans someday, too. Friends & Allies Brewing has several beers in cans, including its current seasonal, the Sportsball Pilsner.
A couple of the brewery's other beers, such as the Noisy Cricket Session IPA and the Urban Chicken Saison, are named after animals, and the Friends & Allies logo features a couple of four-legged creatures as well.